Spring onions are one of the most popular ingredients in cooking. They add a mild, fresh flavor to many dishes and can be used in both sweet and savory recipes.
Sadly, they’re not always available year-round – but luckily there are plenty of substitutes that will do just as well!
Whether you need something for a soup or stew recipe, or if you want to make your favorite chicken salad sandwich without the onion taste, here are 7 of the best substitutes for spring onion.
Leeks, Shallow, Red Spring Onions, Ramps, Chives, Red Onions, and Celery are all the perfect spring onion substitutes you can use in cooking.
Read on to find you can swap these ingredients in place of spring onion and get the same flavor profile.
- What is Spring Onion?
- 7 Best Spring Onion Substitutes
- What Does Spring Onion Taste Like?
- What to Do with Fresh Spring Onion?
- Can I Use Normal Onion Instead of Spring Onion?
- Can You Substitute Shallots for Spring Onions?
- Can You Keep Spring Onions in the Water?
- Do Leeks Taste Like Spring Onions?
- How Long Can Spring Onions Last?
- What’s A Good Substitute for Spring Onion in Fried Rice?
- Final Words
What is Spring Onion?
Before we get to the list of substitutes, let’s discuss what exactly is spring onion?
Spring onion is also known as green onion or scallion. They have a long white stem and a bulbous root end that looks like a small bunch of tiny onions. They have dark green leaves which spring from the top of the white bulb.
Spring onions can be eaten both raw and cooked. They’re often used in salads, stir-fries, omelets, sandwiches, and soups.
7 Best Spring Onion Substitutes
If you’re out of spring onion (or scallion), fret not! Try these 7 great substitutes instead:
Leeks are an allium vegetable that is related to garlic and onions. They are similar to spring onions but are larger and have a milder flavor.
They also look different; they’re longer, with brown paper-like skin and cylindrical pale green leaves which multiply from the root end up.
It has a milder taste than regular onion and is sweeter too. But it has the same amount of health benefits.
Leeks taste great in stir-fries and soups. They are also often used as a garnish or finishing touch for many dishes like salads, pasta, and pizzas. It gives a rustic flavor to the dish!
They’re also easy to grow at home if you have enough space in your garden. Just plant them in soil with topsoil and peat moss.
Shallots are related to both garlic and onions, but they’re actually part of the lily family. They have a pungent flavor that is stronger than spring onion but milder than onion or garlic.
They can be used in many different cuisines, from Asian to European dishes. The flavor is strong enough that you only need a small amount in your recipe.
Shallots are also commonly used as a garnish, much like spring onions. They’re often seen gracing the top of salads, soups, and pasta dishes!
3. Red Spring Onions
These spring onion substitutes have a slightly more complex flavor than regular spring onion and leeks. They have a slightly peppery taste that can be overpowering at first.
But if you’re used to eating them, you’ll learn to love their strong oniony flavor!
Similarly, they have the same health benefits as spring onions – great for lowering blood pressure and improving immune system function.
They can be eaten raw but are more commonly cooked. You can add them to soups, salads, or any dish that requires some crunch and flavor!
Ramps (also called wild leeks) are wild onion plants that are only available during the springtime in temperate climates – so best used as a spring onion substitute!
They have a taste similar to garlic and spring onion, so they give dishes a garlicky and onion-y flavor. They’re smaller and more tender than scallions, though.
Ramps are usually chopped up and cooked in dishes to enhance the richness of the dish. They can be used in pasta, salads, pizza, meat dishes – almost anything! It’s super versatile.
They also make a great substitute for scallions or green onions in recipes where they need to be cooked.
Chives are similar to spring onions, except they have a very strong onion flavor. This means that you’ll need fewer chives than you would for spring onions!
You can also use chive flowers if you can get them – they’re small and delicate, making them the perfect touch of color on top of salads or as a garnish on soups and stews.
They’re usually added at the beginning of a dish, cooked quickly over high heat so that they don’t lose their flavor. You can also use them as a garnish for salads or pasta!
6. Red Onions
Red onions have a similar taste to regular yellow onions but are much milder (and tastier, if you ask me!)
You can substitute red onions in place of spring onions in any recipe since they have a very similar flavor. Bonus: they’re also cheaper, so you can save moolah!
They’re often used as a garnish for dishes and are also cooked into the dish. For example, red onions are usually caramelized to enhance their flavors in many dishes – from pasta to pizza!
Red onions also have the same health benefit of aiding digestion. It’s best to consume red onions fresh as it’s difficult to find them in other forms.
Celery is another good spring onion substitute! It goes great with pretty much anything, but especially soups and salads.
The flavor of celery is very similar to that of a leek – slightly sweet and acidic, but not overpowering. You’re going to love it!
Similar to leeks, celery can also be cooked slowly in soups, stews, and even sauces. They are often used as a garnish for pasta dishes and salads.
What Does Spring Onion Taste Like?
The flavor of spring onion is slightly sweet and incredibly fragrant.
If you bite into a raw spring onion, the flavors will be milder than if cooked. However, if you eat too much raw spring onion, it may cause your throat to itch and burn.
The flavors of cooked spring onion are much more complex than raw ones! It tends to be a bit sharper and stronger. When cooking with spring onion, remember that you don’t have to use as much as you would for raw spring onion.
What to Do with Fresh Spring Onion?
You can use fresh spring onion (also called green onion) in a variety of dishes such as soups, salads, and even sandwiches!
The fresh spring onion is often used as a garnish for many dishes. It brightens up the look of a dish because of its vibrant green color.
Can I Use Normal Onion Instead of Spring Onion?
Normal onions are much stronger and have a different flavor than spring onions.
If you don’t like the strong flavors of normal onions, then you should definitely not substitute it for spring onion!
However, if you’re looking to save some moolah and don’t mind the difference in taste, then go ahead – try using normal onions instead of spring onions.
Can You Substitute Shallots for Spring Onions?
Shallots are similar to spring onions, just a little bit stronger in flavor.
If you don’t like the strong onion taste of either spring onions or normal onions, then you can substitute shallots for both!
Can You Keep Spring Onions in the Water?
Yes, you can leave your spring onions in the water for some time before using them.
It’s best to keep them in a jar/container and cover them with water as you would do for fresh-cut flowers. They will stay good for 2-3 weeks!
Do Leeks Taste Like Spring Onions?
Leeks are a bit milder in flavor than spring onions, but also very similar.
You can use leeks as a substitute for spring onions in almost all dishes. Since they’re not as sharp and pungent as normal/red onion, leeks are great if you’re looking to dilute the strong flavors of other ingredients!
How Long Can Spring Onions Last?
Spring onions have a very short shelf life.
If you aren’t going to use them within a few days, then it’s best to freeze them for later or preserve them in oil. You can keep spring onions fresh in the fridge for about 2-3 weeks.
What’s A Good Substitute for Spring Onion in Fried Rice?
Spring onions are commonly used in fried rice but if you are out of them, you can use leeks or shallots in its place.
Leeks and shallots both have a similar taste to spring onions, especially when cooked. They also share the same health benefits of aiding digestion!
Cooking with these spring onion substitutes can be a tasty alternative that offers more flavor and variety.
They’re also great for those who don’t like the strong taste of spring onion or want to avoid it altogether.
Next time you need a substitute for spring onion, try one of these ingredients! Happy cooking!